|System: PC, X360||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Gas Powered Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Square Enix||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 2, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Cole Smith
October 22, 2009 - Supreme Commander 2 is still in the process of being created. The release date has not yet been announced, and we're all waiting impatiently. We do know some things, actually lots of things, and we'll share them with you. One thing that you'll be interested in knowing is that this sequel is going to be different than the original, yet retain its heritage. In other words, you'll know it's a Supreme Commander game, but you won't feel as though you've played it before.
Supreme Commander 2 is a real-time strategy game. Unlike the original version, Supreme Commander 2 is going to simplify, if not completely eliminate economic management. The focus is going to be on action, but not at the expense of depth. Units will be individually more complex, with the ability to take care of themselves from the outset of the game, upgrading on the battlefield through kills. There are going to be hundreds of units available, with several hundred onscreen at one time. With the help of the Square Enix team, characters will be more developed, and the storyline will be more than the generic real-time strategy premise. After all, this is the team behind the Final Fantasy series.
Set in the future, 25 years after the original, the sequel is poised to display the new advances in technology that have occurred during that time period. A giant arena sets the stage for battle on the new Illuminate 5 map. This arena hovers atop an illuminated city, emanating a majestic sense of foreboding, power, and wonder. Supreme Commander 2 strives to be larger than life, and even though it uses the same graphics engine, the requirements won't be increased although the quality of the graphics will be superior to the original.
Mechs will not only be larger and more powerful, but there will be mini-mechs as well. Upgrades will be automatic as units gain experience points for kills. New and more powerful weapons will be introduced. These weapons and other technologies can be consistently upgraded through the tech trees. They won't have to be discarded for more powerful weapons in later levels. This will help give the game a more realistic and natural feeling of progression and continuity. Players won't have to commit to upgrades as they did in the original game. While energy and mass remain the two major resources, you can only purchase these resources or other acquisitions, such as units, when you can afford them. This approach gives the player more flexibility to customize his army to accommodate changes in gameplay developments.
Improvements will be seen in areas such as graphics, plot development, more realistic pathfinding, stronger units at the outset, a streamlined cursor control for the Xbox 360, major and minor mechs, and the ability to clone your commander by bringing his head back to base should he get blown up. Improved software technology and multi-core processors will improve the pathfinding without the need for players to invest in a new PC system. With such a huge number of units onscreen, proper pathfinding is essential. Units will now take appropriate measures to adjust their course long before they are confronted with obstacles. Units can now be deployed before they are completed, but they will only be capable of a performance commensurate with their development or lack thereof. Another new feature allows you to instantly transport troops from one area of the map to another - apparently you shoot them out of a cannon. Seriously.
A new faction has evolved from the Aeons. The Illuminate is introduced. They will do battle with the familiar Cybrans and UEF factions. All of the factions will feature upgrades from appearances to new units. Naval units are new and will be introduced in addition to Cybra-zillas and upgradeable ACU units. Nuclear weapons will remain the most powerful of all weapons, and the developers promise a spectacular particle and light show during detonation. ACU units will be capable of core dumping should the nuclear attack become imminent.
Up to eight players will be able to take part online with the PC multiplayer component, but only four will be accommodated with the Xbox 360. Chris Taylor of Gas Powered Games says that the Xbox 360 game is going to surprise a lot of players, claiming that people at the office actually prefer the 360 version. What's more is that the enemy A.I. will see an overhaul in programming to make them more realistic and challenging in the single-player mode. A "neural net" lets the enemy learn your strategy and adapt their style to compensate. This will keep the gameplay dynamic, forcing you to change your tactics to keep the enemy from predicting your next move.
Supreme Commander 2 promises to be a true stand-alone sequel. It's going to be more fun, flexible, and accessible than its predecessor. There's no arguing that a lot of time and effort has gone into this game so far, and we're all hoping it pays big dividends to us gamers when it's released later in 2010.
CCC Senior Writer